The need for business transformation

This large vehicle distributor serves dealerships in North America. The company ran its two critical back-office functions — finance and operations — on separate systems. Information was often duplicated and conflicting, with costly, manual reconciliation processes that eroded confidence. How could the company integrate these two key systems, reduce cost and improve its service to auto dealerships and their customers?

The company sought to implement a range of integrated SAP S/4HANA solutions that would ultimately enable unified business management. This approach would remove expensive heritage applications, eliminate labor-intensive manual processes and enable greater cost and quality control. In a phased approach, they planned to replace about 400 applications, starting with finance and moving through five key lines of business: vehicle sales, accessories, parts, quality control and warranties. When complete, the business will enjoy process efficiency and greater operational insight in every area of work, with reduced operational costs.


The three-step solution

Step one

The company engaged IBM Services™ to assist with this significant business transformation. Using a combination of agile and the Ascendant methodologies, and leveraging the prebuilt IBM IMPACT Solution for Automotive, allowed the combined team to replace the core financial and logistics systems with SAP S/4HANA solutions in Wave One.

Wave One was delivered on schedule, scope and budget, and was live within just 11 months. IBM consultants ran more than 300 workshops with daily use of agile SCRUM methods.

Step two

Wave Two included SAP S/4HANA applications for sales and distribution, direct procurement, extended warehouse management and auto warranty management.

The SAP S/4HANA solutions are hosted on-premises in two new data centers. From the user stories, the IBM consultants were able to give practical hands-on access to the SAP solution. The team built about 90 servers for production, QA, UAT, development, training and sandbox purposes, and for Waves One and Two they trained more than 270 people at HQ and regional offices.

Step three

During the final wave, the company will migrate its remaining business functions to SAP S/4HANA, including vehicle sales, accessories, parts and warranty management. The solution was extended to include SAP Integrated Business Planning, the cloud-based planning solution.

IBM achieved a Net Promoter Score 9 rating (Likely to Recommend Service, Likely to Choose Again, Services Overall Satisfaction) for this implementation.


The results: reduced cost and complexity

By the conclusion of the final wave, the IBM consultants plan to retire more than 300 older applications, helping remove layers of cost and complexity, and enabling the business to build its own future. Additionally, 354 workshops were completed, and 122 client-approved project phase deliverables were realized.

Hands-on access to SAP S/4HANA solutions even as we built them ensured the customer was completely engaged all the way, which was a huge success.

Mark Swallow, Associate Partner, IBM Services, IBM US

Client stories

US-based truck manufacturer

Increased productivity by 30% by implementing S/4HANA with IBM Services and IBM Power® Systems.

Leading European bakery

Optimized its supply chain, boosted sales and expanded to new markets after working with IBM to move to SAP S/4HANA.

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